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Gaining HEA Senior Fellowship recognition and the value of being an assessor

In the HEA Fellowship blog, we’re continuing to measure the impact that HEA Fellowship has on teaching practices, on students and on the practices and approaches of peers. We’ve also asked for some suggestions when teaching/supporting learning online!

In this post, Desiree Cranfield, from the School of Management discusses her HEA Senior Fellowship recognition (SFHEA), with pointers to the impact on her practice that has arisen by her being an assessor on Swansea’s Experiential route:

Being an assessor has been an eye opener … inspiring me to think of other innovative approaches as I read and assess the submissions.

Desiree Cranfield, SFHEA, School of Management

My name is Desiree Cranfield. I am a South African-British academic, have been resident in the UK for 18 years, and have been an academic for more than 19 years.

Gaining the Senior Fellowship (SFHEA) is a public demonstration of one’s commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience.  It is a reflective description of one’s commitment to teaching and learning and the student. Secondly, it provides formal recognition that is used within one’s progression and career trajectory

I found that the standards (UKPSF, 2011) provide one with a framework for practice, to ensure that one is maintaining the standards required to ensure a good level of teaching and learning, creating an environment for students that is conducive to learning.

During the pandemic I found myself developing more resources than required to ensure that students were receiving a good number and scope of content.  I was able to adapt and include several of these into my face to face lessons, and using the recordings of additional work as optional to support the face to face lectures.

Being an assessor has been an eye opener, enabling me to visit the frameworks more often, as well as inspiring me to think of other innovative approaches as I read and assess the submissions.

I found that undertaking the SFHEA provided me with the space to reflect on myself as an academic, which I thoroughly enjoyed and valued the time to do that.  Often surprising myself by the comments and reflections.  Once I achieved the SFHEA, first time around without the need for amendments, I did have a sense of validation, especially when one’s value at times is not visible enough.  This validation is such a blessing as it provides one with a sense of confidence.

My words of advice for anyone wanting to start the process is, just do it! However, give yourself enough time to honestly and reflectively provide an account of your journey as an academic.  The whole process is cathartic, and enlightening, and you should undertake it because you want to value the benefits it brings.

My Fellowship tips:

  1. Start early, schedule enough time to complete it to a high standard.
  2. Know up front that it is a reflective journey, so be prepared for the emotional reflection that will inevitably come with it.
  3. Don’t be hesitant to let others read your submission, only give it to persons you trust. This will enable you to receive feedback on your tone, and content and writing, which I found exceptionally valuable.

For Further Details

Visit SALT’s webpages for details of the internally accredited programme leading to Associate, Fellow or Senior Fellow and for links to Principal Fellow resources.

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